August 23, 2019

My Favorite White Pizza Dip

Years ago I was introduced to white pizza dip, and my life has never been the same.
My Stepmom enjoys dips just as much as I do, and when she made it I fell in love. It's a quick and easy go-to, I whipped it up just last week for a food day at work. I love that you can add some fresh toppings as well, it's nice to make it your own. I'm not the best at food pictures, so don't let them steer you away from this delicious dip.
This recipe is from Lipton Recipe Secrets.

You will need:
-1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix
-16 oz. sour cream or plain greek yogurt
-1 cup ricotta cheese
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/4 cup chopped pepperoni
-1 loaf of Italian or French bread

To make:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 1 quart casserole dish, combine soup mix, sour cream (or yogurt), ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
-Sprinkle remaining cheese.
-Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until heated through. 
-Serve with bread.
A few variations I have done include leaving out the pepperoni and topping with some fresh tomatoes. You can also top with some diced green peppers and olives, or add in some chopped bacon. I love this dip and how simple it is to make, it's great for football Sunday's!

Hope you're having a great week. Share some of your favorite dip recipes in the comments, I'm always looking for new ones to try!

August 21, 2019

The What If's

Two weeks ago a fire at a daycare in Erie killed 5 children overnight. 
Photo by Sapan Patel on Unsplash

It was a tragic event for  the parents, caregiver and our community. 
The week prior I received a phone call at work from my Grandfather who was bawling on the other end of the phone about my Gram who was admitted to the ICU. 
The week before that I was worrying about all the what if's associated with the phone call about my breast MRI.
There are constantly what if's in life. Some of them can make you feel better about the situation, while others leave you feeling empty. If had plenty of moments wondering lately...what if this happened? They all take a toll on you and can mentally wear you out. 

Life isn't meant to be spent thinking about the what if's. Are there lessons to be learned from scary situations? Once in a while. Are there blessings that come out of emergencies? Sometimes. They're all reminders to not take a single day for granted. That doesn't mean you can't cry it out or have a bad day. I've had PLENTY the past few weeks. I think I've cried more days than I haven't. You have a rough patch, you worry, you rally and you KEEP MOVING ON. What if's can bog you down and make your mind go to places it's not meant to. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other- move forward.
The following few days after the tragic fire our city rallied together to provide support in ways that amazed me. A local convenience store said they would donate 100% of the proceeds from every cup of coffee sold last Tuesday, and $80,500 was raised in ONE day. People were buying coffee $100 and $200 at a time. THAT is how you overcome the what if's. So many people were talking about smoke detectors, safety precautions and what if's...but so many MORE people were helping these parents who woke up without children move forward and provide support.
Find your support system and hug them tight. Give back to a friend or family member when they need it. Don't ask what you can do to help- show up, bring a meal, embrace with a hug and lend a listening ear. We can all do something to help someone, whether it's a cup of coffee or mowing their lawn. 
I know I'm all over the place with this post, but I'll leave you with this. 
Don't spend time that could be spent living, worrying about the what if's. Life is too short-dream big, buy the shoes ;)

August 19, 2019


I read something last week that I've read probably 50 times.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A teacher shared "When I look around my classroom I couldn't tell you who crawled first, who walked before one or spoke in sentences by 15 months. I can't tell you if their parents breastfed or bottle fed....
You know what I an tell when I look at my kids? I can tell which families value kindness and manners in their homes. I can tell when a child feels loved and secure. I know who has pizza and movie Friday nights and which Mom reads in different voices for bedtime...
When I look at my little friends, I don't see their milestones, i see who they are: their hear, their actions, their inner voice, their struggles and triumphs, and I see you; and all the love your pour into them."
It's beautiful and something we all need to remember. 
I struggle sometimes deciding what Bella and Ethan aren't doing or doing. I hope that the things we do at home matter later in life when they are living in their own homes, raising their own families. I pray that they understand that no cell phones at the dinner table means that I want to hear about everyone's day and what made them happy or hear about something they are struggling with. I know that their belly giggles are genuine and something no-one can ever take from them and hope that those moments are ingrained with them forever- us crying from laughing so hard at something ridiculous together on the couch.
Bella didn't walk until after she was a year old and she didn't start getting teeth until about 7 months. You would never know that watching her run around (everywhere) and eat everything in sight. So many people comment that she's so small, but little do they know that she's been determined from the start. I like to think of her being a preemie as wanting to make her entrance to the world sooner- she's full of excitement and wonder each day, and she wanted a head start ;)
On the flip side, I wasn't there to watch Ethan's first steps and don't know when he got his teeth...I wasn't in his life yet. To the tall young man who just got his braces off, it simply doesn't matter. It's just a part of life.
First teeth and first steps are exciting things to document in the baby book, but in the grand scheme of things, these labels don't matter. We don't need to define a person by their first word, or the amount of words they say by what age. We all are doing the best we can-parents, step-parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents. 
I've done it before, before I've been in the position and I have labeled someone. The lesson "don't judge a book by it's cover" is a good one to learn, and sometimes it slaps you in the face when you're least expecting it.
Labels aren't important, the love you give each and every day IS. Making someone feel loved, comfortable and special is the best gift.